Pre-professional studies include several with substantial concentration in the basic sciences and mathematics and constitute recommended course selections from the Shepherd University academic offerings which may prepare students for application to professional schools of dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and others. As such, these course work recommendations should be viewed as requirements of institutions other than Shepherd University unless, as is commonly the case, a student pursues a specific Shepherd University degree program as well.
Pre-professional programs do not count as a major for financial aid purposes or to meet graduation requirements.
Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Veterinary Medicine
The majority of successful applicants to professional schools in these areas are those who have completed a four-year baccalaureate degree program, although a small percentage of exceptional third-year University undergraduates may be admitted, particularly to dental schools.
The recommended undergraduate preparatory course of study is one which concentrates within the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics, but professional schools usually recommend that the undergraduate program include a broader academic background as well, like that provided by the Shepherd University program of general studies.
Therefore, it is suggested that students pursuing career goals of the practice of dentistry, medicine, and/or veterinary medicine undertake, while at Shepherd University, course work leading to a bachelor of science degree in either biology or chemistry with a science-oriented minor field. Requirements for the baccalaureate major and minor fields in biology or chemistry are listed in this Catalog. The Shepherd University general studies requirements and other general baccalaureate degree requirements are described in this Catalog as well.
Before the end of their sophomore year, students pursuing any of these pre-professional avenues of study are urged to solicit from professional schools of primary interest, specific admission information in order to insure that any exceptional requirements may be taken into account in planning the balance of the pre-professional course of study at Shepherd University. West Virginia residents may qualify for cooperative programs with universities and professional schools in other states in the areas of veterinary medicine, podiatric medicine, and optometry.
Law schools generally require applicants to possess a baccalaureate degree. It is suggested that students interested in pre-law major in political science. Although law schools do not specify any one undergraduate major as being more appropriate than another for consideration for admission to their programs, applicants usually possess bachelor's degrees in political science, history, economics, or accounting. Most recent Shepherd University graduates who have entered law schools have majored in political science. The criteria for admission are usually threefold: 1) the applicant's overall grade-point average; 2) the score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); and 3) recommendations from major professors and from those who are familiar with the applicant's character.
The student who is interested in entering law school should plan an academic program that develops breadth of vocabulary and reading comprehension, written expression, discernment for subtleties of language and thought, analytical ability, and knowledge of governmental procedures and forms. One leading law school cautions that a pre-law student should be involved in an undergraduate curriculum which is intellectually challenging and demanding and which requires rigorous academic discipline. Another warns that applicants presenting courses without intellectual content of substantial value will not be considered. The pre-law advisor in the political science department is available for consultation and advisement, and can provide information about the Law School Admission Test.